15 Dec 2022

Welcome to our new series where we highlight the partners and people behind the TechOceanS project! First up is Dublin City University (DCU) which works across Theme 1- Genomics, Theme 3- Microsensors and Theme 4- Cross-cutting and Testing.

DCU Overview

Dublin City University is a young and diverse university. Its ethos focuses on delivering real impact and addressing global challenges. The DCU team epitomises these attributes and is a key partner in the TechOceanS consortium.

DCU is contributing to TechOceanS by adapting its current lab-on-chip (LOC) technology for the detection of ocean-based contaminants and invasive species of imminent concern and identifying them using antibody- and DNA-based methods.

DCU TechOceanS Team profiles

Dr. Weili Guo

Dr. Weili Guo obtained her B.Sc. degree in Biotechnology in 2007 and Ph.D. in 2012 from Dublin City University. She subsequently worked in the school of medicine in the University of Aberdeen from 2013 to 2014 and Conway Institute in University College Dublin from 2014 to 2017. Her research activities are focused on recombinant antibody generation and bioassay development, in particular point-of-Care testing platforms towards specific biomarkers. In 2021, she joined the TechOceanS project to develop antibody-based biosensors for the detection of emerging marine contaminants.

Contact: weili.guo@dcu.ie

Dr. Caroline Murphy

Dr. Caroline Murphy is senior post-doctoral researcher on DCU’s TechOceanS project, focused on the development of antibody-based methods for the detection of ocean contaminants.She is an experienced researcher in the areas of molecular diagnostics, antibody development and immunoassays and environmental analysis. She completed her PhD in Immunology from Trinity College Dublin in 2010. She gained a SFI Industry fellowship in 2020, where she worked in Pfizer, Grange Castle. She received a Technology Innovation and Development award (TIDA) 2010 and DCU President’s innovation award 2020 and an INVENT commercialisation award 2022

Contact: caroline.s.murphy@dcu.ie

Dr. Louis Free

Dr. Louis Free is a Post Doc researcher in the Water Institute, Dublin City University and has been in this position since 2019. While in this role, Louis developed a range of optical sensors using novel technology. He completed his PhD in Electronic Engineering in 2021, his work focused on spectroscopic characterisation of an atmospheric pressure plasma jet that he designed. He has a Master’s in Electronic Systems, and completed that work in San Jose, California, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics.

Contact: louis.free@dcu.ie

Dr. Chloe Richards

Dr. Chloe Richards is a researcher of the DCU Water Institute at Dublin City University. Chloe completed a BSc degree in Analytical Science at DCU in 2017 and finished her PhD in Analytical Chemistry in 2022. Chloe’s PhD investigated the hypothesis that bio-inspired microtextured materials can disrupt marine biofouling. Chloe is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in optical sensing for application in marine water quality monitoring on the Horizon 2020 TechOceanS project.

Contact: chloe.richards@dcu.ie

Sean Power

Seán is a mechatronic engineer specialising in prototyping, embedded systems, printed circuit board and product design. Seán received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from Trinity College Dublin. He is currently doing a PhD in Dublin City University with a focus on marine biological optical sensor development, and he is involved in Horizon 2020 and Enterprise Ireland funded research and innovation projects like A-WaMS and TechOceanS.

Contact: sean.power49@mail.dcu.ie

Dr. Paola Drago

Dr. Paola Drago joined the DCU research group on the ‘TechOceanS’ project as a post-doctoral researcher in September 2022 after she completed her PhD in Biotechnology from DCU. Her PhD project focused on investigating the function of the human DHFR2 gene, leading to the discovery of a novel regulatory role. She is the recipient of the 2020 Allergan Innovation Award. Before moving to Ireland, she worked at Etna Biotech, where she developed recombinant antigens for vaccine formulations (Hepatitis E). Paola studied Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Catania (Italy), where she obtained her B.Sc and M.Sc degrees (2010/2013), majoring in Human Genetics and Genomics.

Contact: paola.drago@dcu.ie

Dr. Fiona Bracken

Fiona Bracken received an honours degree in Zoology from University College Dublin (UCD). Fiona subsequently received a PhD in Biological Sciences from Durham University (UK) for research conducted on the behavioural and evolutionary biology of European lampreys. Following this, she received an Irish research council (IRC) Enterprise-Partnership postdoctoral fellowship to assess low density species in aquatic systems at UCD. This project involved the novel use of Environmental DNA to detect spawning aggregations of freshwater fishes. During this fellowship she received funding from the Mohammed Bin Zayed Conservation fund exploring the use of eDNA to monitor endangered species in Western Africa. Fiona’s role in DCU as part of the TechOceanS project was to develop novel eDNA assays to detect a number of marine species of fisheries/aquaculture and conservation interest. Fiona finished working with the TechOceanS team in February 2022 and now works for APEM Ltd.

Conor Campbell

Conor Campbell is an environmental scientist, currently working at ENVA Ireland. Conor received his degree in environmental science in 2021 from Dublin City University. Conor was instrumental in the development of ocean best practices (OBPS) for bioassays and eDNA detection assays during his time working on ‘TechOceanS’.

Ruth Clinton, MBA

Ruth Clinton is Water Innovation Manager in the DCU Water Institute. Ruth has over 20 years experience working in the Irish and UK commercial water sector. Her background is environmental science mixed with a Masters in Business Administration. Ruth's role in the Institute is to engage all stakeholders in water research. Ruth also manages and participates in a range of research projects including TechOceanS, along with running the day to day operations of the Water Institute.

Prof. Fiona Regan

Fiona Regan is a Professor in Chemistry at the School of Chemical Sciences in DCU and Director of the DCU Water Institute.Fiona’s research interests include the development of analytical techniques to detect emerging environmental contaminants. Her current research focuses on environmental sensing and sensor networks, biofouling of sensors and platforms and also the prevention of biofouling. Fiona is PI on the TechOceanS project with expertise in the area of developing separation systems and analytical techniques for the detection of priority and emerging contaminants.

Contact: fiona.regan@dcu.ie

Prof. Anne Parle-McDermott

Anne Parle-McDermott is a Professor in Genetics at the School of Biotechnology in DCU. She is a Principal Investigator of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory and is applying her expertise to functional genetics as it relates to human health.For ‘TechOceanS’ she is looking at the application of DNA-based methodologies to develop ocean-based diagnostics and biosensors. Anne is currently on a research sabbatical in the University of Maine.

Contact: anne.parle-mcdermott@dcu.ie